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Courtesy: USF Athletics

Nichols to Sign with Phillies

Courtesy: USF Athletics
          Release: 06/09/2012
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Senior to-be Chris Nichols has chosen to forego his senior year of college eligibility to sign with the Philadelphia Phillies, who selected him in the 31st round (968th overall) on Wednesday.

The 6-foot-2, 180-pound right-hander is the son of former major leaguer Rod Nichols and tallied a career mark of 15-7 in three season with the Cougars. He finished his USF career with 90 strikeouts.  

Nichols began the summer pitching for the Lehigh Valley Catz of the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League. Last summer he went 4-3 with a 1.50 ERA for the Catz and was named an ACBL All-Star.

Nichols is heading to Clearwater, Fla., which has served as the Phillies spring training site since 1948. There Nichols will sign and report to the GCL Phillies, the Phillies' rookie ball club. The GCL Phillies open the 2012 campaign versus the GCL Tigers on June 18.

Before he hit the road, Nichols took the time today to do a Q & A. 

1. Where were you exactly when you found out that you were drafted?

CN: Everyone will always remember where they were the moment they found out they were drafted. Me?  I was at work getting ready to film a soccer game for a cable company out here in the Lehigh Valley.

2. Who called you to inform you that you had been drafted?

CN: My dad was actually the person who called me to let me know that I had been taken, so that was a really cool moment for the both of us.

3. Was this entirely unexpected, or did you have some idea that you might be taken?

CN: I knew that the draft was going on, and that there was a shot that I would be selected, so it wasn't entirely unexpected, but at the same time I tried to keep my hopes from getting too high so I tried prevent myself from expecting it to happen.

4. What did you do after you found out you were drafted?

CN: Since I was at work, after I received the call, I did the only thing I could really think of... which was to go back to work.  About 5 minutes later my phone blew up with a lot of friends, coaches, and teammates calling and texting me their congratulations.

5. Being the son of a former major league pitcher/current Lehigh Valley IronPigs pitching coach and having grown up around professional baseball, this had to be a dream come true for you---especially being drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies-your favorite team and the parent major league club of the IronPigs.

CN: Being around the game as long as I have this has always been a dream of mine, and it has been something I've been working towards for a long time, but for it to finally happen is kind of surreal.  I don't think the implications of this have fully hit me yet, nor will it for a while.  I've just had to take a step back and try to enjoy these last few days.

6. What was it like in the Valley Catz clubhouse on Thursday, with four current or former players being taken in the draft?

CN: All of my teammates were really excited for me on the Catz.  I was the only member of the team that was selected this year, but our closer from last year Lee Sosa was also taken by the A's a few rounds before me, so for both of us to be taken was a big step for the summer program.  There were also 2 other ex-members of the team that were taken this year, but I had never played with those guys.

7. What do you know about the Phillies organization?

CN: The Phillies are a great organization that has established themselves as a power in the national league the last few years.  They take the business of baseball very seriously and they expect to win.  It's exciting to be stepping into an established program like that.

8. How did your family react?

CN: My entire family is very excited for me.  My mom probably had the funniest reaction out of everybody because she had been in meetings all day, and all of a sudden her phone started ringing a lot too as people found out, but with all the attention my mom thought something bad may have happened so she was much more relieved to find out that it was not bad news at all.

9. Are you going to start taking BP since pitchers have to hit in the NL?

CN: Being in the national league I guess I will have to begin to sharpen up my hitting skills as a pitcher, or at the very least be able to bunt!

10. What's next this summer?

CN: The next step for me is to head down to Clearwater, Florida this weekend where I intend to sign and begin my career as a professional baseball player.  These last few days have been a whirlwind, but it is also just the beginning and I'm ready to get down to Florida and work hard.

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